Shrunken Iranian salt lake hugely expands in floods
The managing director of Iran’s West Azerbaijan Regional Water Company has announced that the volume of water in the shrunken Lake Urmia reached 3.61bn cubic metres following two weeks of rain amid the country’s Persian new year flooding disaster, Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Following the deluge, the salt lake in northwestern Iran—once the largest such lake in the Middle East—has expanded in volume by nearly two-fold. A year ago it only contained 1.99bn cubic metres of water.
Managing director Kiumars Daneshjoo reportedly said that the size of Lake Urmia had expanded by 593 square kilometres, taking it to around 3,000 sq km. Its depth increased 62 cm in the rains, the heaviest Iran has seen in at least 50 years.
Lake Urmia, which has 102 islands, is fed by 13 rivers and is protected under national park status, began drying up during the 2005-2013 Ahmadinejad administrations when several dams were placed upstream. Heavy water usage by surrounding farms also lowered its level. Some 80% of the lake was lost in recent years.
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